Happiness Is A Choice

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For years when I struggled with anxiety and depression I used to write on my hand 'I am totally responsible for my life'. I had read it in a Susan Jeffers book and it resonated with me. Not matter what hype my brain was telling me, I just had to look at my hand and know that with the next deep breath, it was okay.

I no longer write it on my hand, but it is a phrase that floats around my head a lot. Some days feel hard. It could be that I haven't had enough sleep (usually) or my Three Things list feels way too long, but some days I just need to remember that I can choose to be happy.

This morning I made plans with Louise to pram walk our kids to a park, where we'd do a workout. To try and avoid the morning 'Can we watch Netfliiiixxxxx pleeeeease?' I had put on a podcast for us to listen to, however within minutes I couldn't hear a thing.

My 4 year old M was rolling around in a scattered deck of Uno cards and 2 year old P was singing Barbie songs at the top of her lungs.

'Uh, guys? Can you pack up the cards please?'
'MUUUMMMM, I'm a pig, rolling in mud.'
'P, can you use your indoor singing voice please?'
'Muuuuummmm I'm singing at the conceeeeeert.'

I need more coffee.

This had come after Senor Fitbit informed me that whilst I'd slept for 7hrs, I'd been awake 8 times and restless 22 times. I was visited by P at 2, 2.30, 3 and 4am, culminating in my giving her a bowl of two weetbix with milk at 4.15am, informing her that I was going to back to bed and she needed to do the same when she was done. 3am was M howling because I booted everyone bar Mr S out of my bed back to their OWN beds where their cold feet would be nowhere near my butt.

It's safe to say my pants were of the slightly grumpy I-just-cleaned-this-floor kind this morning.

Then I remembered my intention to be Happy In The Morning. Crap.

I pasted a smile on my dial, helped the piggy clean up her Uno card mud bath, helped everyone get dressed and out the door. Where it was raining, so we went to an indoor play centre instead.

By the time we left the house I was feeling much happier and light of heart. I found a way to choose my happiness. A lost night's sleep is really freaking annoying, but I also remembered that in a few short years no one will WANT to sleep in my bed, be a carefree pig rolling in a card game mud and I really will miss the endless princess Barbie songs.

In a recent episode of the podcast 'Happier With Gretchen Rubin' Gretchen mentioned her intention to use a lighter tone and find the humour in a situation. I thought of this and it made me laugh. The whole situation made me laugh. I'm trying to walk out the door and I've got a kid pretending she's a pig and another pretending she's on stage? To me, that's hilarious. I've got a huge grin on my face as I'm typing it.

My Dad, circa 1960-something. Bless.

My Dad, circa 1960-something. Bless.

Life doesn't need to be serious all the time. My Dad was the silliest man I knew, and whilst it was terribly embarrassing at times (ask my sister about the time he drove her to school at 15km/hr), in hindsight it was such a magical quality. He'd had a hard upbringing, a serious career (prison warden) and chose to deal with it with humour. Not a bad habit, eh?

How can you choose happiness today?

It's a First World Blackout

Firstly, goodness me. It's been a month since I last blogged.

Ah, real life. You are sweet.

But my story. Oh yes. On Tuesday morning, after 24 hours of the heaviest rain we'd had all year, there was a blackout at 7.30am. I was in blissfully alone in the shower with no one saying 'MUM? WHAT DOING?' or 'MUMUMUMUM WAAAAH' or 'MEOW' and when the lights went out I panicked momentarily, thinking that the hot water would stop. Alas, we have a giant sized hot water tank, so I was sweet on that point. So I kept showering in the pale light of morning, and then the barrage of the potential things that my day might entail entered my uncaffeinated head like a freight train.

In this order:

  1. I cannot blowdry my hair. No fringe for me. Help.
  2. I will need to use my breastpump manually. Help.
  3. COFFEE.
  4. My phone is not charged.
  5. HOW WILL I ENTERTAIN MY CHILDREN ALL DAY WITHOUT THE USE OF POWER OR TELEVISION?
I know. Drastic, right?

I can rally my own inner troops. I brushed my fringe down and hoped for the best. I set up my pump manually and Millie wanted to help. I'm quite glad, it took an age to pump the bottle and substantially less time for flu-ridden Pippa to drink it. I could go for a drive to charge my phone. Small pot of water on the fire and then there was coffee.

The last point, however? Well, my shoddy parenting skills showed. Millie asked for Sesame Street (aka Pippa's first naptime and Mummy's coffee time) and we had quite a lengthy discussion about how the television wasn't working. After Millie had me try every remote twice, she agreed that perhaps the TV just needed batteries. Indeed.

We played lego and dollies and read a few books. We looked at the cows outside and that's when I realised that I was very very tired. How?

Well, I had an epiphany with the cows. The cows don't know if there's a blackout, because they mosey about during the day and snooze at night. They just are.

Then the power came back on, Pippa had a nap, I had another coffee and our day went on. I vowed to get some more sleep, because really? Zen cows? 

(I also put all of my iDevices on their chargers quick sticks and boiled the kettle to put in a thermos lest there be another blackout. Mummy needs iDevices and coffee on hand at all times.)